A Violent Truth by AllfatherRelease date: March 31, 2023
Label: Trepanation Recordings
In David Cronenberg’s film Scanners, there is a rather (in)famous scene where someone’s head explodes. If you’ve ever wondered what that experience might be like in real life, listen to A Violent Truth, the latest album from British hardcore/sludge outfit Allfather.
Blending sludge, hardcore, crust, thrash, and more into their mix, they’ve capitalised on the infectious groove that defined earlier works like ‘Black Triangle’. This is most notable in the breakdown that closes out ‘Take Their Eyes’, which is guaranteed to break necks and other limbs in the mosh pit. After the aptly-titled interlude ‘A False Peace’ (it’s much too doom-laden to be peaceful), the blistering opening of ‘The Hunt Infernal’ explodes over the listener, coming off like Power Trip met Discharge in a foundry.
Brutal, hefty, colossal, gargantuan: all apply here. Each riff hits like a blow from Thor’s hammer, the drums are truly bludgeoning, and the guttural howls would put Satan himself to shame. The album rips along at an unrelenting pace, leading to probably the only quarrel I have with it: at 28 minutes long, there’s not nearly enough of it. It’s over before you know it.
But that’s literally the only complaint, which means there isn’t anything in the album itself to be upset about. Unless you’re on the right-wing of the political spectrum, that is. If you are, Allfather are telling you to fuck right off in no uncertain terms. Yours are the heads that should be exploding after listening to this album.
This is easily discernible in lyrics like “Behold self immolation/we died while you earned” from the opening salvo of ‘Poison Soil’, which exudes rage over the current climate crisis; or the first two verses of lead single “Take Their Eyes’, which explodes with fury over the corruption and perversion of democracy in recent years. Or, from ‘The Hunt Infernal’, this delightful promise to the greedy capitalists and world leaders who have exploited their way to unimaginable wealth: “Your carcasses will feed /the revolution/bleed for the revolution/bleed.” Eat the rich, in absolutely no uncertain terms.
None of the album’s lyrics are subtle. There are no flowery poetic metaphors to make the listener think long and hard about the intricacies of the problems facing our world. Fuck that shit. The time for nuanced debate on all of this is long past. Allfather demand not just change, now, but complete destruction of the current system so that something better can be built in its place.
And they present these demands in an utterly furious package of riffs, screams, and thunderous drums. A Violent Truth offers a slightly cleaner listening experience than previous albums, thanks to mixing and mastering from Scott Middleton. The arrangements are tighter, the sound is overall much more assured and cohesive. This is recognisably the same band that destroyed necks and eardrums on And All Will Be Desolation and Bless The Earth With Fire. They’re just even more pissed off this time.
It is, in sum, a banger. With all the force of a brick to the face, and the swaggering groove of a band who have hit their stride, Allfather have made A Violent Truth an absolutely essential album for 2023. If your head survives the listening experience, you haven’t got your speakers up loud enough.